Tilapia season is here. This versatile fish is a favorite for both fishing and eating. Tilapia is the common name for about a hundred types of cichlid fish from the tilapiine cichlid tribe. Tilapia are principally freshwater fish, occupying shallow streams, lakes and waterways, and are occasionally discovered living in salt water.
Tilapia ordinarily have laterally compressed, deep bodies. Like many cichlids, their pharyngeal bones are intertwined into a solitary tooth-bearing structure. A complex set of muscles permits the upper and pharyngeal bones to be utilized as a second set of jaws for preparing nourishment, permitting a division of work between the “correct jaws” (mandibles) and the “pharyngeal jaws”. Using this method, they are proficient feeders that can catch and a large variety of prey. Their mouths are protrusible, generally flanked with wide and swollen lips. The jaws have conelike teeth. Tilapia often have a long dorsal blade, and a horizontal line which frequently breaks towards the end of the dorsal balance, and begins again a few rows of scales beneath.
Tilapia are omnivores and can easily feed on smaller fish or plant based foods, like algae. Their anatomy allows them to digest certain undesirable fish species and plant life from lakes and ponds. Due to their propensity to eat mosquitoes, officials in Kenya have used them to control the spread of malaria through strategic stocking in naturally occurring lakes and streams.
Tilapia are relatively easy to catch. They are often found near the bottom of water bodies and can easily be caught with worms or other simple baits. Remember that tilapia prefer warm water and will be easier to catch when it’s warmer. Tilapia can be spooked easily by too much noise or commotion, so when casting be gentle and precise. Try not to splash too much if you are fishing from a boat. As always, follow our Fish Handling Procedures when handling live fish, especially if you plan to catch and release.
Tilapia make a delicious meal and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Tilapia have very low levels of mercury, as they are fast-growing, lean and short-lived, with a primarily vegetarian diet, so do not accumulate mercury found in prey. Tilapia are low in saturated fat, calories, carbohydrates and sodium, and are a good protein source. They also contain the micronutrients phosphorus, niacin, selenium, vitamin B12 and potassium.
Recipes from AllRecipes.com
Baked Parmesan Tilapia
- “A quick and yummy way to prepare crispy tilapia the whole family will love, without frying. I get asked to make this several times a week by everyone in my family, especially the kids!”
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup prepared ranch dressing
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
8 (6 ounce) tilapia fillets
|Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
|Line an 11-17-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
|Mix milk and ranch dressing in a shallow bowl. Place flour in a separate shallow bowl; set aside.
|Whisk together bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, seasoned salt, black pepper, celery salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, parsley, and basil in a bowl.
|Spray bread crumb mixture with cooking spray until damp, then whisk bread crumbs. Repeat spraying and whisking 3 more times to lightly moisten crumb mixture with cooking spray.
|Transfer crumb mixture to a large resealable plastic bag.
|Gently press tilapia fillets into the flour to coat, and shake off the excess flour.
|Dip the fillets into the ranch dressing mixture.
|Place all the fillets into the resealable plastic bag; seal bag and shake to coat fish with bread crumb mixture.
|Arrange tilapia on prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray the breaded fish with cooking spray.
|Bake in the preheated oven until the fish is easily flaked with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes.
Easy Baked Tilapia
“Just 35 minutes and six simple ingredients are all you need for this top-rated, flavorful tilapia recipe.” INGREDIENTS:
4 (4 ounce) fillets tilapia
2 teaspoons butter
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning TM, or
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste
1 lemon, sliced
1 (16 ounce) package frozen cauliflower
with broccoli and red pepper
|Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees F). Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
|Place the tilapia fillets in the bottom of the baking dish and dot with butter. Season with Old Bay seasoning and garlic salt. Top each one with a slice or two of lemon. Arrange the frozen mixed vegetables around the fish, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
|Cover the dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until vegetables are tender and fish flakes easily with a fork.
If you own a lake or pond and want to stock tilapia, there are a number of options available. In some states, there are local conservation or wildlife management organizations that can assist you. If you are a Texas resident, the easiest and most cost effective method is through Clearwater Consulting. Filling out the consultation form below is all you need to get started. A representative will contact you within a few business days. [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]